Morris Museum | On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey

Joe Iurato new mural at the Morris Museum.

On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey is the first museum exhibition to examine the duality of New Jersey artists whose creative versatility extends from the street to the studio. Although their outdoor murals are more commonly experienced in the “open air” galleries that have cropped up in Jersey City, Newark, Asbury Park, and Trenton, these twelve artists also maintain a successful studio practice, producing works on canvas, paper, and wood, as well as sculpture, video, stickers, stencils, skateboard decks, and fashion. Along with these studio-produced works, eleven of the artists have painted 13-1/2 feet tall x 20 feet wide murals directly on the Morris Museum’s gallery walls expressly for this exhibition to capture the scale and site-specific nature of their street art practice. The impact of the streets on the studio will be explored, as the lines between urban art and fine art have become increasingly blurred.

With roots in late 1970’s graffiti, skateboard, and punk subcultures, today’s street art has evolved into a cultural phenomenon with a distinct visual language that has reclaimed public spaces in cities across the globe. Encompassing unique styles and varied techniques, street artists address topics that range from notions of place to cries against injustice. Not only has urban art transformed our visual landscape, it has impacted the cultural expression of our time, including fashion, design, advertising, and the contemporary art canon. While neighboring New York-based street artists continue to receive attention from museums and cultural centers worldwide, those based in New Jersey have been largely overlooked. 

On and Off the Streets: Urban Art New Jersey is a long overdue homage to the rich talents of these urban artists and their vital contribution to New Jersey’s creative spirit. This exhibition features murals and studio work by Catherine Hart, Clarence Rich, Emilio Florentine, Joe Iurato, Layqa Nuna Yawar, LUV1, Mr Mustart, RH Doaz, RORSHACH, and Will Power, and a special installation of work by Newark-based street art legend Jerry Gant (1961-2018).

This exhibition is guest curated by Lois Stavsky.